By Sarah Addison Allen
@SPL: FIC Allen
Most folks look forward to spring as a time of celebration, a time of renewal. Not so the Waverly women of Bascom. They look forward to the first frost of the autumn, when their strange apple tree - the one with fruit that will show you the most momentous event of your life should you dare take a bite - bursts into unseasonal bloom with a blizzard of white flowers.
It’s been about ten years since Sydney returned to Bascom with her daughter Bay, and reconnected with her sister Claire. Claire, whose food can turn friends into lovers or cause feuding families to suddenly declare peace though they can never explain why, has turned her talents to hard candies, candies that are in demand across the country. Sydney’s hair salon is always busy – a style from Sydney and a job interview will go well, a parking violation will be forgiven, a sales pitch will be successful.
Evanelle still wakes up with the urge to give random things to random people that they will need, for reasons that will only become apparent much later. And Bay, the Waverly who always knows where things belong, knows that she belongs with a certain boy – a boy from whom she can see tendrils of smoke curling, his personal misery burning him from within – a boy who doesn’t know she exists.
And Bay is not the only unhappy Waverly woman – Evanelle is feeling her eighty-nine years, and fears for her best friend, Fred. Sydney desperately wants to have another child, with her beloved Henry – she wants it so badly her hair begins turning red of its own volition. And Claire’s booming business is consuming her leaving her with little time to spend with her husband and daughter Mariah, a daughter who doesn’t seem to have anything Waverly about her at all. But this is nothing compared to the threat she will face before first frost finally settles in, a threat that shakes the Waverly women to their very core.
Fans of Joanne Harris and Alice Hoffman will find Sarah Addison Allen’s stories slightly more genteel, but no less engrossing. Find First Frost and Ms Allen’s first novel of the Waverly’s, Garden Spells at spl.bibliocommons.com under the tag Shelf Life Reviewed.
Robyn Godfrey, librarian